The future of The Magic City Classic

Alabama A&M University announced a task force for the Magic City Classic to oversee gameday operations at Legion Field.
WAFF 48's Sports Director Carl Prather reporting
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 10:27 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama A&M University announced a task force for the Magic City Classic to oversee gameday operations at Legion Field along with the Louis Crews Classic and the Bulldogs’ annual home game.

The chair of the task force is Athletics Director Dr. Paul A. Bryant.

“I’ve been here eight-nine months, and I’ve listened to the issues that they’ve had,” Dr. Bryant said during a news conference on Tuesday. “So, let’s create this task force and have them sitting at the table, and as we sit at the table and reimagined what these opportunities look like that’s why I’m so excited.”

Traditionally Alabama A&M and rival Alabama State University sign two separate contracts to play the classic. One with the City of Birmingham, and the other with The Alabama Sports Council, which oversees the production of the classic.

The Sports Council is in charge of securing sponsorship rights, but also generates revenue from classic branded merchandise, pep rallies and the classic parade. The Sports Council receives funding from the Jefferson County Commission.

According to a press release, the county commission could only guarantee funding for the 2023 matchup at Legion Field.

The newly formed Alabama A&M task force is aimed to secure regional and national sponsors and other promotional activities to generate more revenue for the university.

“We know for the next four years there in Birmingham Alabama and know that our relationships are key,” Dr. Bryant said.

In April, Alabama A&M signed a four-year agreement with the City of Birmingham to participate in the classic through 2026.

Alabama A&M and Alabama State will each receive $500,000 each season.

Alabama State signed a new $1 million agreement with the Alabama Sports Council for the 2023 and 2025 games, where the Hornets are the designated home team. The new deal totals $1.5 million annually.

For the 2024 and 2026 games, Alabama A&M is the designated home team.

“We’re excited for it,” Dr. Bryant said. “The Mayor of Birmingham has been tremendous to all of us, so we’re excited to continue that partnership with Mayor (Randall) Woodfin.”

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